Say au revoir to the masses by visiting these lesser-known vistas of Paris’ iconic landmark.
Seeing the Eiffel Tower is high on many travelers’ lists of the top things to do in Paris. Nevertheless, unless you want to brave the seven million people who go up the world’s most famous tower annually, there’s no need to get up close to the 330-meter-high (1,100-feet-high) iron structure. In fact, you can admire better views—and snap some great Instagram-worthy shots—at these unique, crowd-free vantage points of La Tour Eiffel around the capital.
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If the selfie seekers aren’t beneath the tower, they’re amassed across the Seine River on the Esplanade du Trocadéro. Lying in plain sight in between these two locations is a much more creative perspective of the Eiffel Tower. This cobbled riverside walkway, running beneath Avenue de New York, is shockingly little visited, despite its proximity to the tower. In addition to the close-up angles of the landmark, you have the pretty backdrop of the peniche houseboats moored along the river as well as the Iéna Bridge.
INSIDER TIPEarly birds can get stunning shots along the port with the sun rising on the eastern horizon above the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.
Avenue de Camoëns
Although this lovely spot is no longer a secret, it’s still widely unvisited by the hoards who gather at nearby Trocadéro. As you walk down this cul-de-sac, the Eiffel Tower gradually reveals itself between the elegant Haussmannian buildings. The balustrade at the end, complete with typical Parisian lamp posts, and the descending steps just beyond, are ideal settings for magical portraits with la Dame de Fer, the Iron Lady.
Bir Hakeim Bridge
Gaining a certain level of fame after its cameo in Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film Inception, this alluring Art Nouveau bridge, located just west of the Eiffel Tower, is worth the detour. It features beautiful views of the tower peeking through its central lane of columns and from the small lookout point found midway. Gorgeous as these are, the best perspectives are actually enjoyed from the second floor of the bridge—aboard métro line 6 as the train shoots across the Seine between Passy and Bir Hakeim stations.
INSIDER TIPAfter you snap some photos from the midway lookout, take the steps on the other side down to l’Ile aux Cygnes or Swan Island. The uninhabited island has a picturesque promenade from where you can admire further perspectives of the Eiffel Tower, and a model of the Statue of Liberty, standing proudly at its western tip.
Palais de Tokyo
Constructed for the 1937 World’s Fair, the central plaza of this Art Deco complex to the east of Trocadéro, offers notable views of la Tour Eiffel, coincidentally built for an earlier World’s Fair. Today the two wings of the Palais de Tokyo host a contemporary art center and the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art. The Palais de Tokyo’s restaurant, Monsieur Bleu, has a garden terrace facing the Eiffel Tower, which usually extends to the central plaza in summer. In either location, you can sit back and savor the dreamy views over a chic meal or glass of rosé.
For a romantic view of Eiffel’s masterpiece, drift a few short blocks from the masses at its base to find this tiny square. Designed at the turn of the 20th century, the oblong Square Rapp is fringed by beautiful buildings, including a residence designed by Art Nouveau genius, Jules Lavirotte. Once you pass the intricate wrought-iron gate, turn around and you’ll come face to face with Paris’ most famous iron structure, the Eiffel Tower, beautifully framed by the ornate buildings.
INSIDER TIPBefore or after slipping into Square Rapp, stop at #29 Avenue Rapp to gaze up at another building by Lavirotte, one of the most phenomenal Art Nouveau buildings in the city.
Avenue de Saxe
Although this chic avenue in the 7th arrondissement dates back a hundred years, it seems like it was created especially for La Tour Eiffel, thanks to its perfect alignment with the tower. Wider than standard avenues, it has a spacious central walkway from where you can take in expansive views of the towering monument, with the Ecole Militaire providing an attractive base. The only time this promenade is busy is on Thursday and Saturday mornings when it hosts an excellent open-air food market.
INSIDER TIPPick up some supplies at the market to enjoy over a picnic and further views of the Eiffel Tower on the nearby Champ de Mars or along the banks of the Seine.
Place de la Concorde
The masses who once packed themselves in Paris’ largest square to enjoy the morbid spectacle of the guillotine are long gone. The few visitors who come to Place de la Concorde today can instead take in some awe-inspiring views. Here the Eiffel Tower shares the spotlight with the city’s oldest monument, the 3,000-year-old Luxor Obelisk, some glamorous Second Empire-style lamp posts, statues representing France’s main cities, and two maritime-themed fountains, placed here in honor of the L’Hotel de la Marine, a historic palace which faces the square. After extensive renovations, it has recently opened to the public. In addition to touring its opulent rooms, visitors can savor commendable views of la Dame de Fer from its columned terrace.
INSIDER TIPThe vista is exceptionally exquisite on clear days at sunset, best captured from the northeast corner of the square below the Jeu de Paume Museum.
The final resting place of France’s greatest heroes also has Herculean views over the city. Originally destined to be a church, the Panthéon’s crypt contains a Mount Olympian-sized lineup of notable French figures, from writer Victor Hugo to its most recent addition, performing artist and Resistance fighter Josephine Baker. After you pay homage to them, climb the 206 steps to access the building’s dome. Your efforts will be rewarded by a 360-degree panorama over the city, including the Eiffel Tower popping over the rooftops of the Left Bank.
Pont au Change
A number of Paris bridges boast glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, nevertheless, the northwest corner of this bridge, connecting Ile-de-la-Cité to Place du Châtelet, offers some of the most quintessential Parisian views of the whole city. This dreamy perspective over the Seine includes not only the famed iron tower but the Medieval towers of the Conciergerie, the golden dome of the Institut de France, and the clocks of the Musée d’Orsay and the arches of the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in the city.
INSIDER TIPFor the best photos, come in the morning or around sunset, otherwise, the perspective is backlit by the afternoon sun. The marvelous views also continue down on the riverside promenade, le Parc Rives de Seine.
Scores of people venture up to Sacré-Coeur to admire its sweeping views over the city, but many are likely disappointed to find that the Eiffel Tower is nowhere in sight. Or so it seems, but one can actually spot it from this square, found only a few paces away from the Basilica. Walking away from the Sacré-Coeur along rue Azaïs, the tower begins to appear in the distance beyond the small Square Nadar. Inside the park, now a meeting point for neighborhood dog owners, you can take some creative shots of the tower above the zinc rooftops of Montmartre.
Terrass Hotel Rooftop Bar
The bar of this stylish Montmartre hotel is one of the few rooftop bars in Paris open year-round. Popular with Parisians, the terrace has a soaring panorama over the city with the Eiffel Tower smack dab in the center, albeit at a distance. The hotel’s adjacent restaurant has an equally impressive vista, which is particularly dazzling at night.
INSIDER TIPTry to come mid to late afternoon during the week to snag a highly-coveted table next to the balustrade, these have the best views.
For less traditional vantage points of the legendary monument, and far removed from other tourists, hike up to this hilly neighborhood in northeastern Paris. The highest geographical point in Paris after Montmartre, Belleville affords impressive vistas over the city, some of which feature la Dame de Fer. You can find these at the top of rue de Belleville and within and above the Parc de Belleville. However, while you’re up in the district, why not meander the neighborhood where you’ll also find an abundance of street art, small designer boutiques, hip hangouts, and surprise appearances of the tower now and then.